Don’t talk to me. I’m breathing and I can’t do two things at once


Is the law about to stop me talking? (Hooray you all cry.) I see there is legislation being pushed to stop people using a hands-free phone whilst driving as it disturbs concentration. The idea that you are incapable of driving a car and having a conversation is absurd. And the idea that a phone call requires more concentration than talking to your passenger is equally daft. Let me tell you, I have to concentrate far more whilst conversing with my passenger, especially if it’s my wife, than chatting on the phone. For a start, I can’t pull a long face, flick her the bird, put her on mute, mutter obscenities under my breath, pick my nose, fart or even ignore her, like I can a voice in the ether. If communication whilst operating a vehicle is so dangerous, how come pilots who are constantly on the radio, don’t veer off to Iceland when on the way to the Costa Brava? Ships heading for Rotterdam don’t end up at Pismo Beach? The real problem of course is that a couple of generations have grown up whose idea of a conversation is texting. People just don’t have conversations, especially in a car. Usually there is a stereo blasting away so loud it makes your ears bleed. So, when a call does come in, an inordinate amount of concentration is needed to hold a conversation. Or worse they text. Result… car crash. Perhaps as part of the driving test, the examiner should have a heated debate on politics or religion. Or the person taking the test should take a call from the Boss.

...and another thing

Where do we draw the line here? Will I be forbidden from talking on the phone whilst cooking or barbecuing, both involve flammable materials? Allegedly Warren Beatty drove Joan Collins up the wall by nearly always being on the phone in bed whilst they were making their own amorous flames.

In the real-world people take calls at times I’d rather they did not and scare me far more than while driving. Surgeons take calls during operations! Brokers whilst placing orders to buy stock on my behalf are often juggling several buy and sell orders at the same time. (I have proof from watching Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places)!

So please, can we just understand what separates us most from our fellow creatures is our vocabulary and ability to communicate. It’s the most natural action we make. If you cannot talk and drive, then go have a lesson in conversation. Just don’t prevent me from sitting in a traffic jam while being put on hold for an hour trying to get through to British Airways customer service.

However, there may be one silver lining. Does this mean when getting into a taxi the driver cannot immediately comment on the subject he has been listening to on Talk Radio before I hailed him?

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